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Retro Pi

I have always wanted to have an easy to use emulator so that I can play old retro games. Especially those PS1 games, as they bring lots of childhood memories. I'm also a big fan of the real classics such as Pac Man, Space invaders & Dig Dug. This meant that the Retro Pi was a great project for me and I have to say I'm pretty happy by the result.

This is the body of the Retro Pi

After a bit of research, I found that the cheap €40 Raspberry Pi mini-computer has been hailed as the perfect all-in-one retro game console within the community and therefore it was the perfect computer for my project.

Although the Raspberry Pi was a perfect candidate for the project it still had some issues which needed to get solved before it can be the perfect console. The issues were the following:

  1. No Case / Body - Again this might be shocking but to have that low price the Raspberry Pi doesn't come with a shell. This means that all you have an exposed motherboard and it's components which is clearly not ideal

  2. No Power Switch - Yes, there is no power switch. As soon as you plug in the power supply it starts booting up. Which is not ideal.

  3. It over heats quickly - Unfortunately this is true since there is no fan

  4. No easy way to shutdown or reboot - You might think this is me nitpicking, and yes kind of. I wanted the perfect console, which looks and behaves like the real thing.

  5. No Storage - Again since it was so cheap it came with no Storage.

  6. No Pre-installed OS - The OS was not installed, obviously since there was no storage to put an OS on.

You might think that these issues are deal breakers but in reality, they weren't. They were easy to solve and in some cases, they turned out to be advantages.

The fact it had no Shell / Body ended up to be a good thing as I could find whichever body I wanted. Since this device is popular within the community there are a lot of cases for it and if you don't find anything that you like, you can always 3D print a case since it's very small. In my case, I went for a case similar to the NES which was an old Nintendo Console back in the day. It gave a cool look to the new retro console. It also came with three key advantages:

  1. Power / Reboot Switches - which solved also one of the cons

  2. USB A ports - It has two USB A ports on the front and another two on the front behind a door that hides them.

  3. Fan - Fanmade it easier to keep the system cool

The inside of the case

As for the storage and OS problem, it turned out to be an advantage. Since I was able to get a 128GB Class 10 SD Card which was more than enough to hold my games and for the OS I used 'Retro Pi', The one that was the easiest to use.

I followed all the steps according to the Retro Pi Wiki and I was able to get the system working fine. Although getting some emulators to work such as the PSX emulator (The emulator used for PS1 games) needed a little bit of extra work. I needed to install PS1 Bios for the system to work out properly.

The project was almost done. All that was left to do now is the final touches such as the safe shutdown and reboot & connect the Bluetooth Controllers. For the safe shutdown and reboot was pretty straightforward. All that I needed to do was simply follow the guide shown here. And for the controllers, I got the 8Bitdo SN30 PRO Wireless Bluetooth Gamepad which was relatively easy to set up


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